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Training, Testing, and Competing

by | Nov 10, 2018 | General | 0 comments

Our original tagline was “The Sport of Fitness”, a phrase borrowed (with full permission!) from Greg Glassman himself.

This was 2 years before the CrossFit Games even existed (we opened in 2005 in, so, yeah, we OGs).

Shortly afterwards, however, we divorced ourselves from the expression, realising that it wasn’t appropriate for what we do.

Actually, it’s not an appropriate tagline for any gym that’s not geared specifically (if not explicitly) for competitive fitness athletes. And even then, it still needs qualification.


Well, it comes down to differentiating between the objectives and methods for training, testing, and competing.

Here’s the general breakdown of each (yes, we can expand on this greatly; these are simply the most notable points in my mind).


Objective: Improve physical performance.

This means improving your capacities in one or more of the 10 domains of fitness: strength, speed, power, endurance, stamina, flexibility, coordination, accuracy, balance, and agility.

Notable factors:

  • Intensity and volume are modulated in a planned manner.
  • Overall effort is moderate to high, but sub-maximal.
  • Quality of technique is (or should be!) of primary importance.


Objective: Validate results of training.

This means using one or more tests to evaluate the effectiveness of your training efforts.

Notable factors:

  • Volume is minimised to the least amount needed to test at maximal intensity.
  • Effort is near-maximal to maximal.
  • A small degree of technique quality degradation may be acceptable (although not encouraged).


Objective: Win.

This means win. Well, win without cheating, of course, but that’s it. Win.

Notable factors:

  • Most or all physical skills are challenged, many (most?) to their maximum capacity.
  • Effort is maximal.
  • Technique quality is allowed to slip to a considerable degree; safety is often a secondary (tertiary?) concern.

So, how does this apply to your training?

Well, that depends.

If you happen to find yourself leaning more towards the “happy to train/move regularly” side of the spectrum, make sure you try pushing yourself a bit past your comfort zone. You might be happily surprised by what you can actually do!

If you happen to find yourself leaning more towards the “highly competitive” side of the spectrum, be mindful to keep your day to day efforts in check. You don’t need to “redline” or go all-out to make improvements; consider the medicinal approach of “minimum effective dose”.

Wrapping Up

Someone who had a major influence on my thinking said on many occasions that “you can’t win a drill”.

Training is for improving; you can’t “win” the workout.

Competition is for winning or losing; all else is secondary.

Testing falls somewhere in between; it’s for informing, identifying, and analysing. You push (near-)maximally, but only to identify where you are now. Maybe you do better than before, maybe not.

The point is, keep in mind the purpose behind what you’re doing and act accordingly.

You can’t win a workout.

Happy training, testing, and competing!


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